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tvl
11-28-2008, 06:47 PM
On the outside of our home is an electrical circuit breaker panel used for our Heat Pump. The outside panel is located about 45 feet downstream from the main circuit breaker panel located inside of the home. The outside panel is fed with a 100 amp double pole circuit breaker using # 2 aluminum wire. Since the outside panel is being used to feed 220 volt service to the heat pump, only 2 conductor with a ground was used to complete the wiring.

Click HERE (http://s75.photobucket.com/albums/i316/n44491/?action=view&current=InsideViewBreakerBox.jpg) to view the inside of the outside electrical panel.
http://i75.photobucket.com/albums/i316/n44491/InsideViewBreakerBox.jpg

Now for my questions:

During the summer we built a deck on the rear of our home. One edge of the deck is located just 5 feet from the outside electrical panel. And you guessed it, I want to run a single 15 amp breaker from this electrical panel to power some LED rope lights around the deck.

Looking at the photo mentioned above, you can see that the outside panel has only one grounding bus. If I install a 15 amp - 120 volt circuit in this box, I will have to use the single ground bus for my ground wire AND neutral wire. This scenario will work, but:

1- Is it acceptable?
2- Would it be considerd a fire hazard?????
3- The main box located inside the home shares the ground bus for BOTH the neutrasl AND ground wires. Why not outside also? What's the difference?

And finally, because I believe this would not be considered NEC recommended, could I simply run a neutral wire from the main panel inside the home to the outside panel for the single 15 amp - 120 volt circuit?

Thanks so much!

jimbo
11-28-2008, 08:28 PM
At a sub-panel, the ground bus and the neutral bus are NOT connected together. The reason is, you do not want the ground wire to share the neutral current on its way back to the main panel. This would be unsafe. An earlier post today showed a news report about a child killed by this idea....current in the ground wire .

I will leave it to the electrical pros to tell you how to fix this.

jwelectric
11-28-2008, 08:33 PM
I will leave it to the electrical pros to tell you how to fix this.


Simple fix

hire an electrician before you kill your self

Johnny C
11-28-2008, 08:55 PM
Based on 2005 NEC.
Based on the photo provided, there are a few Code violations.
1. Section 312.5 requires a connector or nipple with a bushing to proved protecion of the conductors feeding the panel.
2. Since this is a sub-panel on the load-side of the service disconnect, the neutral terminal bar and equipment terminal bar must be isolated from each other. No equip. grnding conductors connected to the neutral. See Section 250.142(B).

tvl
11-29-2008, 05:20 AM
Simple fix

hire an electrician before you kill your self

With all due respect, and as mentioned by another poster, this box already has a couple of code violations which I will take care of AND it was installed by an licensed electrician. It appears an electrician is not always "THE" answer. Just look at the post titled "DIY Electrical".

Our home is 30 years old ............... maybe the code was more lenient back then and this was considered appropriate???

jwelectric
11-29-2008, 05:28 AM
With all due respect, and as mentioned by another poster, this box already has a couple of code violations which I will take care of AND it was installed by an licensed electrician. It appears an electrician is not always "THE" answer. Just look at the post titled "DIY Electrical".

Our home is 30 years old ............... maybe the code was more lenient back then and this was considered appropriate???


With all due respect as you mentioned in your original post you were asking about using the equipment grounding conductor as the return for a 120 volt circuit.

What makes you think you have the knowledge to repair what is there now?

Speedy Petey
11-29-2008, 05:32 AM
That panel was not installed by an electrician. It was installed by a HACK!
If he called himself an electrician then that is just false advertising.

There are several grave violations. It's not that the connector needs a bushing. There is NO cable connector even there. There is also a double tap on the main lugs.
That panel would be legal as a "240v only" panel. They used SEU cable which has a neutral, but no ground. This bare NEUTRAL can be used as a ground, but NOT both when feeding a sub-panel.
The problem in this case is the white neutral on the bar. This is the neutral wire from that non-compliant double tap.

I would seriously consider hiring a REAL electrician to fix all those violations and re-feed that panel with SER and install a separate ground bar to make that a proper 120/240v panel before you go any further.

jar546
11-29-2008, 05:34 AM
* Should have been fed with a 4 wire cable.
* No strain relief bushing at feeder service.
* Neutrals and grounds need to be separated.
* Equipment grounding bar bonded to the panel needs to be added.
* Neutrals need to be isolated from the panel frame and equipment grounds.
* The main lugs are not rated for the taps that are there.

This is a disaster waiting to happen. Get it fixed professionally.

jwelectric
11-29-2008, 06:17 AM
Based on 2005 NEC.
Based on the photo provided, there are a few Code violations.
1. Section 312.5 requires a connector or nipple with a bushing to proved protecion of the conductors feeding the panel.
2. Since this is a sub-panel on the load-side of the service disconnect, the neutral terminal bar and equipment terminal bar must be isolated from each other. No equip. grnding conductors connected to the neutral. See Section 250.142(B).

John C.
Are you saying that 312.5(C) allows a nipple to enter the back of a disconnect for a cable that has totally nonmetallic sheathing to enter?

Although the disconnect has no connector which is a violation of 312.5(C) is there a problem with the NM cables that are exiting the panel in what looks like LFNC?

tvl
11-29-2008, 07:39 AM
First, I do thank all who have replied ............ the input is what I was looking for!

Second, trust me, I do want to do what is correct, thus the reason for my questions. All of the work between the outside box and the main electrical panel inside the home was done at the time of construction (1977) by a local electrical contractor, as was most of the other homes in our subdivision.

And last, the white wire on the ground bus, as well as the two black wires underneath the main lugs are from a Joslyn secondary surge protector (installed in the late 70's) similar to the one shown at the following link. Only difference is ours is an older model and has only 3 wires.

http://s75.photobucket.com/albums/i316/n44491/?action=view&current=joslyn.jpg

Speedy Petey
11-29-2008, 08:03 AM
Yes, and if you could see the instructions you would see that they say to connect the two hots to a two pole breaker, NOT under the main lugs.

tvl
11-29-2008, 08:16 AM
Yes, and if you could see the instructions you would see that they say to connect the two hots to a two pole breaker, NOT under the main lugs.

Thanks Speedy!

Once again, I didn't do the work, but I will correct the issue.

Therefore, if I understand your response, the two black wires will be placed underneath the lugs of the 30 amp breaker which feeds the heat pump compressor. There will be no protection for the heat strips using this method, but maybe not necessary?

You did not mention the white wire coming from the surge protector. Therefore, I am assuming it was placed correctly!

I have decided NOT to use the box for adding a single 120 volt circuit. However, I will correct these issues everyone has mentioned, I see no reason for me not to do the work as the solutions mentioned are very doable.

Speedy Petey
11-29-2008, 08:27 AM
Therefore, if I understand your response, the two black wires will be placed underneath the lugs of the 30 amp breaker which feeds the heat pump compressor. There will be no protection for the heat strips using this method, but maybe not necessary?
Why do you say this???
Those units are not directional, nor is there line or load. They just absorb a spike regardless of where they are.
And putting the wires under the A/C breaker is also a violation, unless the breaker is designed to take two wires.
Those things should be on their own breaker.

The white carries no load or current, so it can be called a neutral or ground. I don't see a problem connecting it to a ground bar. The only restriction would be what the instructions say.

tvl
11-29-2008, 08:48 AM
Sorry Speedy, I simply misunderstood your previous response. However, I was able to locate the Joslyn documentation for the unit I have. It is dated June 1973.

Please click on the following link to see a photo of a commom installation at a service entrance:

http://s75.photobucket.com/albums/i316/n44491/?action=view&current=JoslynSP.jpg

I NOW understand that the NEC does not allow two terminals to be underneath the same lug as in my installation. However, based on the photo, I do not see any reason to wire this device to a dedicated breaker?????

Speedy Petey
11-29-2008, 10:13 AM
That device in your last link is MEANT to be spliced right to the service drop given that the splices are approved for it.
The kind that go into a knockout in a panel should be on their own breaker.

jwelectric
11-29-2008, 12:22 PM
Sorry Speedy, I simply misunderstood your previous response. However, I was able to locate the Joslyn documentation for the unit I have. It is dated June 1973.

Please click on the following link to see a photo of a commom installation at a service entrance:

http://s75.photobucket.com/albums/i316/n44491/?action=view&current=JoslynSP.jpg

I NOW understand that the NEC does not allow two terminals to be underneath the same lug as in my installation. However, based on the photo, I do not see any reason to wire this device to a dedicated breaker?????

They ain't worth a dime unless they are installed at the service with the grounded conductor connected to the grounding electrode conductor.

TheElectricalGuru
11-29-2008, 01:49 PM
With all due respect, and as mentioned by another poster, this box already has a couple of code violations which I will take care of AND it was installed by an licensed electrician. It appears an electrician is not always "THE" answer. Just look at the post titled "DIY Electrical".

Our home is 30 years old ............... maybe the code was more lenient back then and this was considered appropriate???

Now see.....the BOLD underlined verbiage above worries me more than the DIYer itself.....

jar546
11-29-2008, 04:27 PM
Forgive me oh your Guruness for replying to a thread started for you. I held off until others broke the silence while waiting for you to reply. For that I am sorry.

Now quiet please, for the Guru shall speaketh............

;)

wallyworld
11-29-2008, 06:07 PM
* Should have been fed with a 4 wire cable.
.

If its only feeding a 230 volt load why does it have to be a 4 wire cable?

jar546
11-29-2008, 06:15 PM
If its only feeding a 230 volt load why does it have to be a 4 wire cable?

It is not just feeding a 230 load. Look at the white neutral wire and the illegal taps off of the lugs. It is feeding a 120 circuit somewhere.

The whole thing needs to be redone.

If it was a dedicated 240 panel then no, it would not need to be a 4 wire although that would cause some other bonding problems.

wallyworld
11-29-2008, 06:35 PM
It is not just feeding a 230 load. Look at the white neutral wire and the illegal taps off of the lugs. It is feeding a 120 circuit somewhere.

The whole thing needs to be redone.

If it was a dedicated 240 panel then no, it would not need to be a 4 wire although that would cause some other bonding problems.

I have no clue what the taps are doing but he said it was feeding a heat pump, I assumed it was 230 volt load, thats why I asked about the 4 wire. It doesn't need a 4 wire to do what it was originally intended to do and thats run a heat pump.
Probably ought to have a 90 amp breaker also:D

tvl
11-30-2008, 09:41 AM
It is not just feeding a 230 load. Look at the white neutral wire and the illegal taps off of the lugs. It is feeding a 120 circuit somewhere.

The whole thing needs to be redone.

If it was a dedicated 240 panel then no, it would not need to be a 4 wire although that would cause some other bonding problems.

Ok, for some clarification: I do realize a lot of comments have been made regarding this thread and everyone isn't reading all them thoroughly. With that stated, the electrical panel is currently (and will remain as such) a dedicated 3 wire 220 volt service for our heat pump. There is NO 120 volt circuit coming form the box. As stated earlier, the two black wires underneath the main lugs are from a Joslyn secondary surge protector AND the white wire is the ground wire from the Joslyn surge protector. For whatever reason, back in the 70's, Joslyn chose to make the ground white. The literature which came with the Joslyn unit clearly states that the white wire is to be placed underneath a ground lug. So, once again, there is NO 120 volt circuit coming form this box.

Now, for the record, my plans as a concerned homeowner and a conscientious DIYer are as follows:

1- I am going to remove the Joslyn surge protector and discard it.
2- I am going to install a bushing at the rear of the panel where the 3 conductor wire enters. However, its been this way for 30 years and there is absolutely no wear on the service cable as it passes underneath the house and goes directly to the the main sevice panel. But, it appears this is not compliant, so it will be done ............... although the electrician should have done this!

Now for one final question: It is obvious the ground bar is isolated from the electrical panel. Should this box be bonded to the grounding bar, OR should a separate ground rod be installed for grounding just the box OR should it be left as is? What does the code state regarding this issue?

PS: someone stated this box should probably utilize a 90 amp breaker. As information, the outside box is fed from the main electrical panel located inside the home and there is a 100 amp breaker inside this panel. The outside panel utilizes two double pole breakers: a 30 amp breaker for the heat pump compressor and electrical AND a 60 amp breaker is used for ONLY the heat strips. I do believe this is correct.

Thanks again all!

jwelectric
11-30-2008, 10:21 AM
I would suggest you reinstall the surge protection device in the service panel connecting the white wire to the grounded (neutral) in the service panel. This is the best place for a surge protection device as this is the origin of the surge. Should lightning strike the power lines the surge protector will slow things down before it gets to the interior of the house.
If you decide to leave it in that panel get a two pole breaker and land the protector on the breaker with the white where it is now.

Question one

It is obvious the ground bar is isolated from the electrical panel. Should this box be bonded to the grounding bar, OR should a separate ground rod be installed for grounding just the box OR should it be left as is? What does the code state regarding this issue?
Yes the disconnect needs to be bonded.
250.4(A) (3) Bonding of Electrical Equipment. Normally non–current-carrying conductive materials enclosing electrical conductors or equipment, or forming part of such equipment, shall be connected together and to the electrical supply source in a manner that establishes an effective ground-fault current path.
This can be done by simply bonding the bar to the disconnect with a bonding jumper sized by 250.122

Question two

someone stated this box should probably utilize a 90 amp breaker. As information, the outside box is fed from the main electrical panel located inside the home and there is a 100 amp breaker inside this panel. The outside panel utilizes two double pole breakers: a 30 amp breaker for the heat pump compressor and electrical AND a 60 amp breaker is used for ONLY the heat strips. I do believe this is correct.
Under the 2008 code the #2 aluminum feeder to the disconnect is only good for 75 amps.
338.10(B) (4) Installation Methods for Branch Circuits and Feeders.
(a) Interior Installations. In addition to the provisions of this article, Type SE service-entrance cable used for interior wiring shall comply with the installation requirements of Part II of Article 334.

To size the feeder to the disconnect we go to 215.2 which will refer you to several other sections concerning the heat and the hermetic refrigerant motor compressors.
If you follow these instructions you might find that the calculations are more than what is already there.
An easy way to do this is to look at each unit to see if it has the FLA (full load amps) marked on it. This may be in the form of MCA (minimum circuit ampacity).
The MCA will already have the 125% added to the load and nothing else will be required. If it is FLA then multiply that by 125% and add the two together for the ampacity for the feeder.

MY advice is simple……if you don’t mess with it you won’t have to change anything. I would bond the enclosure and remove the surge protector and do nothing more. I wouldn’t worry about installing the connector in the back of the box.

If you are going to install a connector to the back of the box then I would just replace the feeder with a four wire cable. Now you can use the panel for 120 volt circuits also.

jar546
11-30-2008, 10:38 AM
OK, I re-read the entire thread again.

1) you have decided not to add a 120 circuit. Good, very smart.
2) you have decided to remove the surge protector. You don't have to remove it but it does need to be on its own double pole breaker.
3) you have decided to add the proper strain relief bushing. Good, very smart.
4) The ground terminal (formerly known as the neutral bar) will have to be electrically removed from the system (see note below)
5) This panel should be marked to state 240vac only.

What I normall do in a case like this is have the person doing the work remove the grounding conductor from the neutral bar completely and connect the grounding conductor to a new bar that is installed directly to the panel and bonded. This way the neutral bar is unable to be used since it will not be bonded and is isolated and not connected to anything.

Do not bond the neutral bar and keep it in use as it is easier for someone to connect to it by mistake creating an immediate violation and unsafe condition.

Next, we need to discuss the #2 aluminum fed from a 100A breaker.

You are doing the right thing.

jar546
11-30-2008, 10:54 AM
Not knowing your terminal ratings and exact cable specs, I am going to go with the 60 deg C column and say that your #2 aluminum is only rated for 75A. This is the same number that JWElectric came up with using the 2008NEC. I am using the 2005. If it is indeed USE cable then 90A is the limit.

This means that you must change the breaker to a 75A or 90A breaker for safety and code compliance depending on the wire it feeds. The wire must be no smaller than the rating of the breaker that feeds it. Taps do not come into play here.

These numbers do not take into consideration any temperature correction factors.

Now, just as important, you need to know all of the electrical information for the motors that you are controlling from this panel to ensure that the proper size wire, breaker and panel feed are met.

If indeed this job was done by a real electrician, it is obvious that is it wrong and was probably not inspected but that is neither here no there at this point.

jwelectric
11-30-2008, 11:12 AM
What I normall do in a case like this is have the person doing the work remove the grounding conductor from the neutral bar completely and connect the grounding conductor to a new bar that is installed directly to the panel and bonded. This way the neutral bar is unable to be used since it will not be bonded and is isolated and not connected to anything.

Why not just bond the bar to the enclosure instead of removing the conductor and buying another bar.

Is this not allowed in panels where there two isolated bars when they are being used as a remote panel?

jar546
11-30-2008, 11:30 AM
Why not just bond the bar to the enclosure instead of removing the conductor and buying another bar.

Is this not allowed in panels where there two isolated bars when they are being used as a remote panel?

You can do that but for the $3.41 you pay for a terminal bar it is worth it. This way when someone comes in and connects the white to the terminal bar for a 120 circuit and it does not work they have to think about it before they realize they are wrong. Of course if they hook up directly to the grounding bar illegaly they may think twice and wonder why there are only bare grounding wires on that terminal.

If the EC refused and just wants to bond the neutral bar turning it into a grounding bar then that is OK too. I just like my own advice.

jwelectric
11-30-2008, 12:17 PM
I just like my own advice.

Me too :D :D

tvl
11-30-2008, 01:16 PM
This means that you must change the breaker to a 75A or 90A breaker for safety and code compliance depending on the wire it feeds. The wire must be no smaller than the rating of the breaker that feeds it. Taps do not come into play here.



Thanks to all who have responded!

I now realize this installation has a few problems and will be taken care of next week as promised. But, I really can't believe the electricians used the incorrect wire and/or breaker way back when this was installed.

I must admit that when I stated the outside panel was fed with # 2 cable, that was really a guess. I really did think that was correct and it may very well be, BUT I need to verify this. You fellows have gotten my attention now!

For now, because it is raining and I can't get out there, I would like to ask the experts who see this size wire on a regular basis to look at the following photo and see if you can determine if it is indeed #2 or larger. This request may be impossible, but I am hoping you can put my mind at ease somewhat.

http://s75.photobucket.com/albums/i316/n44491/?action=view&current=WireSize.jpg

Thanks again!

I will definitely check this out tomorrow, if possible. I guess the fact this circuit has been in operation since 1977 and hasn't had any problems is a good sign!

jwelectric
11-30-2008, 01:24 PM
Look along the gray sheathing and it will tell you what size it is

tvl
12-02-2008, 02:23 PM
Look along the gray sheathing and it will tell you what size it is

OK .............. I got the cable information off of the sheathing. It is as follows:

American Electric Industries
Type SE
Cable Style "U"
Type XHHW
#2 Aluminum
300 Volts to Ground

To jog your memory: the outside panel is fed directly from the main electrical panel located inside the home. There is a 100 amp breaker feeding the outside panel and the outside panel utilizes two double pole breakers: a 30 amp breaker for the heat pump compressor and electrical AND a 60 amp breaker is used for ONLY the heat strips.

1- Based on the cable information, is the 100 amp breaker acceptable?
2- If not, and just out of curiosity, is it possible a 100 amp breaker was accepatble back in 1977 when the house was built.
3- And finally, based on everyone's input, I will change the breaker if it needs to be changed ............... but, does the fact that it has run this way for 30 years say anything. It's just confusing!

Thanks once again!

tvl
12-04-2008, 11:20 AM
OK .............. I got the cable information off of the sheathing. It is as follows:

American Electric Industries
Type SE
Cable Style "U"
Type XHHW
#2 Aluminum
300 Volts to Ground

To jog your memory: the outside panel is fed directly from the main electrical panel located inside the home. There is a 100 amp breaker feeding the outside panel and the outside panel utilizes two double pole breakers: a 30 amp breaker for the heat pump compressor and electrical AND a 60 amp breaker is used for ONLY the heat strips.

1- Based on the cable information, is the 100 amp breaker acceptable?
2- If not, and just out of curiosity, is it possible a 100 amp breaker was accepatble back in 1977 when the house was built.
3- And finally, based on everyone's input, I will change the breaker if it needs to be changed ............... but, does the fact that it has run this way for 30 years say anything. It's just confusing!

Thanks once again!

Bump ................. waiting to see what you fellows have to say about this!

Thanks!

jar546
12-04-2008, 04:33 PM
1) No, a 90 amp breaker is required as stated previously.
2) Does not matter, it is not now and you are making some changes.
3) Then keep it like it is and don't worry about it but then you just wasted a lot of folk's time looking for the correct way to do something.

I may not be willing to help anyone now knowing that no one will do the right thing after I take the time to give guidance.

TheElectricalGuru
12-04-2008, 04:43 PM
Forgive me oh your Guruness for replying to a thread started for you. I held off until others broke the silence while waiting for you to reply. For that I am sorry.

Now quiet please, for the Guru shall speaketh............

;)

ahh..now see I get that all the time so I am not gonna help....its all your's fella....lol

But I fall in the 75A column if SE and if USE the 90A column. however I hope that if it is USE it does not extend into the dwelling because USE can't be run for interior applications.

As for the Surge Protector mentioned...we have SPD's in type 1 and type 2. I believe the one shown is Type 1 which is designed to be between the utility transformer an the service disconnection means...and the old TVSS versions are the type 2 meaning they need to be installed on a breaker.

Basically they are both MOV's but allowances for different point applications.

FYI- Just because something runs for 50 years on the wrong size breaker does not make it right....just like speeding everyday going home does not make it legal just because I was not caught...( sad to say but knowing MY luck I would get caught....lol )

Anyway..like i said...I aint helping because of the guru comment...lol

jwelectric
12-04-2008, 04:51 PM
1) No, a 90 amp breaker is required as stated previously. Reckon those Yankees will ever get into the current code up there in Pa.? Under the ’08 code it would be only 75 amps and there are many out there that will argue that it has always been 75 amps based on the 60 degree column.

2) Does not matter, it is not now and you are making some changes.
3) Then keep it like it is and don't worry about it but then you just wasted a lot of folk's time looking for the correct way to do something. I agree with both these statements


I may not be willing to help anyone now knowing that no one will do the right thing after I take the time to give guidance. Better hang it up now as only a handful will take anything said to heart as long as they can find one person on this planet that will agree with them. How many times have you seen this on these forums?
“My electrician said it was alright”
“I asked a licensed guy at work today and he said”
“It was inspected this way”
“Wikipedia said”

All of these statements are nothing more than “shut up I know what I am doing”

jar546
12-04-2008, 08:53 PM
JW, we are still on the 05 cycle because the ICC codes are still on the 2006 versions since the 2009 is not out yet. The 06 ICC codes reference the NEC 05 because that is what existed as the latest and greatest at the time of publication. Therefore, we will always be on a 2 year lag with NEC codes.

tvl
12-05-2008, 03:35 AM
1) No, a 90 amp breaker is required as stated previously.
2) Does not matter, it is not now and you are making some changes.
3) Then keep it like it is and don't worry about it but then you just wasted a lot of folk's time looking for the correct way to do something.

I may not be willing to help anyone now knowing that no one will do the right thing after I take the time to give guidance.

A big thanks to all for your input. I will make the necessary corrections based on everyone's input.

In regards to the statement I made earlier and which seems to have been taken differently than I intended: [B]"finally, based on everyone's input, I will change the breaker if it needs to be changed ............... but, does the fact that it has run this way for 30 years say anything. It's just confusing!"

1- The home was built in 1977 and an electrical contractor was used for the electrical needs. This same contractor was also used in MANY other homes around the county. Unless the code has changed since that time, it would appear there are many other homes around here which are not wired correctly.
2- If the code back then required a certain type of wire and breaker configuration and the electrical in our home wasn't completed correctly, then I feel somewhat "cheated".
3- If the code "then" and "now" differs, then that would explain why ours is different than what everyone here expects.
4- Which brings me the the part where I stated: It's just confusing! How can something which was acceptacle in 1977 and functioned fine, now be illegal?

Was it discovered this was a fire hazard and the code was changed to reflect the finding?

If the code WAS changed to ensure a safer home, why then are older homes "grandfathered" and not required to update? If there was a safety issue involved, then once again, I feel somewhat deceived by not being at least warned of the hazard. If someone informs me of a safety issue within our home, automobile or whatever, I for one am certainly going to resolve the issue ........... as would most individuals.

So, I certainly hope no one is thinking I was trying to talk my way out of not doing what is correct because "this is the way it has been" .............. it's just as I stated earlier This is all very confusing

Once again, and for the record, I appreciate everyone's input and guidance. I WILL make the necessary corrections to this panel. I only wonder now how many other code violations and/or safety issues I have remaining!

jar546
12-05-2008, 05:19 AM
It's just confusing! How can something which was acceptacle in 1977 and functioned fine, now be illegal?


It is not illegal and if you don't mess with the panel and leave it alone, it is perfectly legal because it is grandfathered UNLESS you have a local ordinance that requires you to upgrade your electrical system when a new code book comes out.

It is my understanding that you originally wanted to tap into and/or modify what is currently there so changing the breaker would be required where I live(if you are modifying/adding), especially since it is a simple, inexpensive thing to do.

Like I said before, if you are not going to touch the panel then leave it all alone.

It is only for your piece of mind that you would be changing the breaker at this point.

The tables since 1977 have been altered as a result of better testing procedures and experiences with electrical problems.